Executive Order (EO) 13650 was issued on August 1, 2013 in response to catastrophic chemical facility incidents in the United States, including the West, Texas fertilizer fire involving ammonium nitrate which resulted in 15 fatalities. In part, EO 13650 directs multiple federal agencies to “modernize policies, regulations, and standards to enhance safety and security in chemical facilities; and to work with stakeholders to identify best practices to reduce safety and security risks in the production and storage of potentially harmful chemicals.”1
Key Agency Actions Driven by EO13650
- On December 9, 2013, OSHA issued a Request for Information (RFI) on the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard and related standards. This public notice period closed March 31, 2014, extended from the original March 10, 2014 date. Over 100 comments on the RFI topics were received from private industry, industry groups, consulting groups, and private citizens. The docket for this RFI can be found at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=OSHA-2013-0020. The RFI docket includes the Federal Register publications for the RFI and its public comment period extension, all received comments and associated attachments, and background documents added by EPA. The OSHA RFI also requested comments on updates to the following associated standards:
- Explosives and Blasting Agents standard (29 CFR 1910.109)
- Flammable Liquids standard (29 CFR 1910.106)
- Spray Finishing standard (29 CFR 1910.107)
- Ammonium Nitrate Storage, Handling, and Management regulations (covered by 1910.109 currently)
- On July 31, 2014, EPA issued an RFI on the Risk Management Program (RMP) standard. This public notice period closed October 29, 2014. Over 700 comments on the RFI topics were received from private industry, industry groups, consulting groups, and private citizens. The docket for this RFI can be found at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OEM-2014-0328. The RFI docket includes the Federal Register publications for the RFI, all received comments and associated attachments, and background documents added by EPA. While EO 13650 did not specifically require EPA to issue an RFI for its RMP standard, EPA’s RMP and OSHA’s PSM programs coordinate on policy and enforcement in order to minimize conflicting regulations and guidance. Potential updates to the OSHA PSM standard are expected to affect and influence the potential updates in the RMP standard.
- The Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group has established an online repository such that stakeholders involved in chemical facility safety and security can submit best practices (https://www.llis.dhs.gov/topics/chemical-facility-safety-and-security). Note that the site has been undergoing system modifications and Department of Homeland Security has not provided a date when its operation will be restored.
What Happens Next?
Based on a review of the RFI topics (read the Dec 9, 2013 PSM RFI Highlights and July 31, 2014 RMP RFI Highlights), it is clear that there is a potential for substantial change to the PSM and/or RMP regulations, including:
- Narrowing or elimination of existing PSM program exemptions (Atmospheric tanks, oil & gas, retail)
- Narrowing or elimination of existing RMP program level exemptions based on site PSM applicability
- Changes to program applicability lists and rules for determination (reactivity hazards, PSM chemical mixtures, RMP listed chemicals and explosives, lowering RMP Thresh old Quantities (TQ))
- Additional program elements (PSM Management System)
- Additional requirements for existing program elements (Emergency Response Plan, Mechanical Integrity, PSM Management of Change, Compliance Audits, Pre-Startup Safety Review, Incident Investigation)
- Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice (RAGAGEP) definitions and requirement for ongoing review of updates to applicable RAGAEP
While neither the PSM nor RMP RFI publications are proposed regulations, agencies utilize the RFI procedure to gather data and comments on potential future proposed regulations. Neither EPA nor OSHA has published a summary of the comments or proposed amendments to their respective regulations. The May 2014 EO 13650 Working Group report to the President identified modernizing the OSHA PSM and EPA RMP regulations as short term goals with a target date within one year of the report date. Issuance of comment summaries and/or proposed regulations by that May 2015 timeframe seems a challenging goal; however neither agency has provided an updated timeline.
Read the December 9, 2013 PSM RFI Highlights
Read the July 31, 2014 RMP RFI Highlights
1 Exective Order 13650 Actions to Improve Chemical Safety and Security – a Shared Commitment, Message from the Working Group Tri-Chairs, pg. iii, May 2014.